North Korea state television revealed a new Tablet computer Monday, named “Arirang”, after a famous Korean folk song. But while North Korean TV broadcasters claim the device to be developed and produced by its Pyongyang Information Technology Bureau, a close look at the Chinese market reveals striking similarities between the new DPRK made device and a generic Chinese iPad clone.
Having announced a number of tablet devices in recent months, North Korea’s tech factories recently made international news in announcing the Samjiyon tablet, shown by NK Tech to be running on a localized variant of Android, and Achim, famously pictured during “development” stages at a seemingly empty factory.
In the latest broadcast North Korean media show local men testing out the new “Arirang” device alongside what appears to also be (the larger) “Samjiyon” tablet.
“Easy to carry around and convenient to use”, the tablet is reported by state media as “contributing to the country’s science technology distribution, culture, and education projects.” And following recent changes in North Korean law that now mandate 12 years of education, broadcasters were eager to show how the touchscreen display could help in the learning process, offering children the ability to learn how to read and write the Korean language.
As researcher Ri Chol Su explained, “Children who can read and write will be able to type in letters by themselves with keyboards and [electronic] pen as they use the “Chosun Word Office Process” program (조선글사무처리프로그람), where they can use fonts unique to our language and various colors fitting a child’s sensitivity.”
Shown with what looks to be an indigenously designed operating system, analysis of North Korea’s coverage of the recently showcased devices show that they are likely running a variant of Google’s open-source Android operating system.
No mention of prices were made in the report, but Chinese clones of this type tend to sell between $40-120 per piece.